Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quick Takes - I am not an animal!

Yeah I'll take a number two, and uh, a large strawberry shake ...

I like to think I fit decently well into society. I wear regular clothes (robot T-shirts), I brush my teeth twice a day (dental hygiene indoctrination!), I love going to the zoo (just bring a stroller and tight yoga pants and I'm a chameleon). A normal person, see? And just when I start to think, "Hey, you're doing it! You're blending in!" I go and muck it up.

I saw the movie "Drive" a few weeks ago, because Rotten Tomatoes told me to, and it was a pleasant surprise. Think Grand Theft Auto with a little bit of heart and a lot of tension. I left the theatre ready to a) drive really fast, and b) talk about what a pleasant surprise that movie was. When the film was brought up at work the other day, I sprang up from my seat to join in on the conversation, but apparently I'm AWFUL, because I didn't even notice that "Drive" was a violent movie. Sure, there was that one part with all the blood, and then the other part with the gunshots and the blood, but ... when you've seen a few Japanese horror movies (Miike is the master of the genre), the gore-tolerance part of your brain adds on a whole new wing.

Things that grossed me out before Japanese horror movies: People eating Cheetos and rubbing orange fingers on their clothes, touching sea anemones, exploding slugs with firecrackers on the 4th of July (it grossed me out, but it was too awesome not to do ... sorry slugs), all vegetables ever, broken legs, mud ... you know, the more I type this, the more I realize I was kind of a prissy little Buster Bluth at times. Shall I mention my affinity for Disney movies and oil painting here? Is now a good time? Let's move on to more masculine things.

Things that grossed me out after: Uh ... the idea that what happens in Japanese horror movies could actually happen to me one day?

Let's face it. I've become the gore-tolerance equivalent of the Elephant Man.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney reported that, after Alex Rodriguez finally collected his first hit of the ALCS last night, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers jokingly asked the Yankees dugout if they wanted to keep the ball.
  • I've always found Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition to be a bit awkward (it was awkward for entirely different reasons as a pre-pubescent child). Just random models and a handful of athletes wearing barely-bikinis wrapped in a sports package to be sold to men. And people walk around "reading" it in broad daylight like it's a regular Sports Illustrated! They have them in doctor's offices and Jiffy Lube waiting rooms (I clearly should've chose another business), and I've seen people "reading" them on airplanes before. So bizarre. I mean I get it, it's simple exploitative demographics, but I was always confounded by the connection between sports and skimp. Sports are usually about big brawny men hitting things and/or each other, and I don't really like to sexualize that experience.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays were sent packing by the Texas Rangers Tuesday afternoon, but the Rays couldn't manage to fill the stadium for a home playoff game (duh, don't schedule a playoff game for mid-afternoon when your fanbase is getting ready for their 4:30 dinner reservations). The Rays owner, some old white guy I'm sure, lashed out at his fans and called the situation "untenable." You hear me, untenable! You know what I think is untenable? $14 for a burger and fries. $10 for a beer. $5 for a steamed hot dog. That's untenable, and I have no problem with fans deciding to stay home and buy a Range Rover instead of paying for a playoff game. I've been thinking about ticket prices a lot lately, and I've come to an interesting conclusion: Go for bulk. Teams that are doing well in attendance or the standings always seem to raise their prices, justifying it by claiming they need to raise the prices in order to provide a better on-field product. And teams that aren't doing well tend to follow suit, thinking that, "Well, if we're only going to sell 10,000 tickets, we might as well sell them for double what they're worth and try to break even." But let's apply some Costco logic to it. Instead of raising the prices, try lowering them. Bring more fans into the ballpark, create an inviting atmosphere for an inviting price, lower your concession costs and sell more of those too. Lower everything and watch the bulk numbers grow. If you run a bar and you sell a beer for $8, sure, you might get some people willing to pay for it, but you're missing out on a huge market and you're pushing a lot of people away from drinking (how dare you). If you sell beer for $1 a bottle, something absurd like that, you're going to sell more beers than you could possibly imagine, and you're going to dramatically increase your "fanbase." Your profit margins are smaller, but they're more sustainable and may even result in larger overall gains. It's best to not sell beer for a dollar at stadiums, though, but that's not for economic reasons.
  • You know the NBA is doomed when the players union is sending in sports agents to try to fix everything.
  • Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather, sent out an hilarious video message to Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, asking the teenage mutant ninja footballer to come to his show in London and "hang out." Snoop calls young Jack his "dog," calls himself "big Snoop D-O-Double-G," and tells Wilshere that they're going to "do it real big," whatever the hell that means. While I'm thrilled at the mainstream exposure Arsenal will undoubtedly get from this message, and I can't help but smile at Wilshere's giddy response (we need some laughs around Arsenal these days), I would prefer if Jack didn't end up in prison after smoking a pound of marijuana and soliciting a prostitute.
  • To everyone freaking out about Brett Favre's comments about Aaron Rodgers today: I listened to the radio interview, and Favre sounded honest and complimentary in his assessment of Rodgers and the Packers. He didn't sound like a bastard, he wasn't ripping anyone, and for this to have blown up the way it is tells a lot about the rapaciousness of the media to publish drama. It's really easy to take one tiny snippet of an interview and print it with a dastardly headline (From ESPN: "Favre surprised Rodgers didn't win sooner"), but it's lazy, sloppy, and inflammatory reporting. Favre, from listening to the full interview and hearing his tone, spoke about how talented Rodgers was, and how talented the team around him was, when asked if he was surprised Rodgers won a Super Bowl last season. He said that he was surprised the team didn't win one sooner, because they were good, and because Rodgers was good. Is that some sort of asshole comment to make about someone? Really? Brett Favre knows how hard it is to win a Super Bowl. Shoot, he knows how hard it is to win a game. So it's absurd to try to turn this into some made-for-TV melodrama between Favre and Rodgers because you'll get more hits and more ad revenue in the process. Bad, media. Bad.

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